Bucs’ head coach Lovie Smith wouldn’t elaborate on Kwon Alexander’s looming four-game suspension, saying that nothing has been made official by the league.
Bucs head coach Lovie Smith – Photo by: Getty Images
However with numerous reports claiming that the suspension takes effect this Sunday, as well as comments from Alexander to the Tampa Bay Times, the media felt inclined to at least ask hypothetically what the Bucs plan will be at middle linebacker.
“If Kwon Alexander was injured and couldn’t play, we have Bruce Carter and Danny Lansanah, two players right now who have both played that position,” Smith said. “We try to have a backup plan for every position on our team, if injury or whatever causes a player not to be able to play.”
During his time in Dallas, Carter lined up at both the strongside and middle linebacker position, playing well enough in 2014 for Tampa Bay to sign him to a 4-year, $ 20 million deal in the offseason. After being pencilled in as the starter at Mike, Carter lost the job to Alexander in training camp. The decision, as understood by many, was based on the rookie’s unexpected development, not through any fault of his own.
Meanwhile, Lansanah made a name for himself in Tampa Bay last season for his versatility. With numerous injuries at linebacker, Lansanah was called upon to fill in for Mason Foster and played well in the inside spot.
Whether Tampa Bay decides to slide Alexander over from his usual spot on the strongside, or promotes Bruce Carter from his rotational and special teams roll, Smith is counting on a seamless transition.
“There’s a reason why we have Kwon as our starter, but Gerald McCoy didn’t play yesterday and the defense held up,” Smith said of players needing to live up to their roster spot. “You have to be able to play good football based on who you have. We feel like if Kwon can’t go both of these guys can step up.”
And finally, if given the case that Alexander’s suspension is made official (and that seems more than likely), then whomever steps into the role of middle linebacker will takeover on-field play-calling responsibilities.
“We’re not going to change up duties or anything like that,” Smith said. “The person that moves into that role will call the defensive signals – if that would come up.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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